Abstract

‘Science uses concepts which are in theory precise, but in practice more or less vague’. Few hydrogeologist working in waste disposal could disagree with Russel, but considerable effort is being expended to lessen the vagueness. Mounting pressure from environmental legislation has produced commendable attempts to codify the assessment of waste disposal sites. It has been found however, that although the measurement of environmental impact may be more or less precise, accounts of the mechanisms in operation around the sites are only now becoming less vague.

In January 1983, the Society held a Hydrogeology Group meeting entitled ‘Waste disposal—where are we now?’ to review recent developments in the hydrogeology of waste disposal, and the following six papers were presented, to a capacity audience: C. J. Swinnerton: Protection of groundwater in relation to waste disposal in Wessex Water Authority; R. Holmes: Infiltration of rain through waste materials and its significance in the planning of leachate management schemes; C. Barber & P. J. Maris: Recirculation of leachate as a landfill management option: benefits and operational problems; H. D. Robinson: On-site treatment of leachate using aerobic biological techniques; G. M. Williams: Migration of contamination from the waste disposal lagoon at Villa Farm; R. C. Harris & D. R. Lowe: The organic component of domestic refuse leachate with reference to two landfill sites in Nottinghamshire. The meeting attracted members from six other societies and the central topic was the leachate production caused by landfill disposal of mainly domestic waste.

Such a meeting was considered to

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